TTFA president demands apology from US Embassy for 'lies' against his administration

By August 10, 2018
David John Williams has accused the US Embassy in Trinidad of lying and has demanded an apology. David John Williams has accused the US Embassy in Trinidad of lying and has demanded an apology.

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation David John-Williams is demanding an apology from the United States Embassy for what he says are lies against his administration.

The US Embassy had accused John-Williams of ‘dropping the ball’ with respect to members of TT’s U15 team not being granted visas to participate in the CONCACAF U15 tournament currently underway in Florida.

John-Williams comments came after the Trinidad and Tobago girls Under-15 team failed to obtain visas to the United States to compete at the 2018 Concacaf Girls’ Under-15 Championship which began on August 7.

In light of the situation, the TTFA president suggested that the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) should seriously consider the logic of placing future tournaments in the United States because most of its Caribbean members are being adversely affected by USA visa restrictions.

In what is seen as an unprecedented move, the US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John McIntyre accused the president of letting his side down as it related to the situation with the visas.

"Our Embassy for months noted that individuals and groups should plan well in advance for any trips to the USA. The Trinidad and Tobago Girls Under-15 representatives approached the Embassy about visas after we were closed on Tuesday, July 31 to get their visas by Friday, August 3 with the Emancipation holiday in between," McIntyre said in a statement.

“I will be blunt.  Mr. Williams and the TTFA just flat out dropped the ball on the visa process.  Our Embassy for MONTHS noted that individuals and groups should plan well in advance for any trips to the USA.  The Trinidad and Tobago Girls Under-15 representatives approached the Embassy about visas after we were closed on Tuesday, July 31 to get their visas by Friday, August 3 with the Emancipation holiday in between.

“No names or details about the visa applicants were provided.  Even after games were rescheduled, there was too little time allowed, just two working days for an established 7-10-day process, not to mention that this is peak visa season when most people have to wait six weeks just for a visa interview.”

However, John-Williams speaking to Newsday contradicted McIntyre's claim that the TTFA approached the embassy after it closed on July 31. He said visas were already paid for on July 26.

“We applied for the visas at no different time than we normally would apply. We made every possible representation, from the Ministry of Sport, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CONCACAF, the US Olympic Committee to get a group appointment for the girls. And it was unsuccessful,” John-Williams told Newsday.

“Historically, this is not the first time that this has happened with a Caribbean team with visas. I, myself, had an audience with (CONCACAF president) Victor Montagliani and I said it really cannot continue this way. If you look at it, everybody (have) to get a visa to go to the United States.

“It’s a situation that CONCACAF needs to look at, in terms of where they place the tournaments. The USA has the facilities to (stage) these tournaments. Gradually Trinidad and Tobago (are) getting there to start to host tournaments like these. With the exception of Mexico, Canada and the US, almost everybody has to get a visa to go the US. That, in itself, is a challenge.”

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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